Cue Taylor Swift. But seriously, hi!! It’s been a while. Last time you heard from me was in July, and I was announcing that I needed to take a step back from the community. Thank you to everyone who reached out to me during that time and shared what In Her Circle meant to you. I knew that my heart needed some space to figure out what was next in my journey, and whether or not that included In Her Circle.
The main question that I’ve been asked when I made my announcement is WHY? Why did you step away, Jessica? What’s wrong? Are you okay? I appreciated the sentiment behind the questions, but at that moment, I was not ready to share. However, I feel ready to share now.
When I started In Her Circle three years ago, I was responding to a need that I saw that was continuing to pop up for women - that we desperately needed community with one another, but doing that as adults is hard. I clumsily made my way when I moved here, but I wanted to create a space where it would be easier to build those friendships and that soul sister community.
In many ways, it was a success! I’ve witnessed countless friendships sprout from this community, and it has been beautiful to watch. I felt happy. I felt full. I had big, exciting plans. And then, I became a mom. Overnight, the thing that I said wouldn’t change me did. Overnight, all of my priorities shifted. Overnight, I found myself needing my own community, and I felt completely alone.
Of course, people came by and dropped off gifts the first few weeks and sent congratulatory text messages. But as the sleepless nights pressed on, the community that I thought I had began to disappear. I remember staring at my beautiful baby with tears in my eyes as I held my phone. Who should I call? Will anyone answer? Does anyone care that I’m struggling?
I began to feel like a fraud. How can I build a community for so many other women but not have one of my own? I pushed those feelings aside, pressed forward, and created new programs and offerings because I didn’t want In Her Circle to stop. And a part of me hoped that maybe what I was creating for other people would also help me. I continued to see success from our gatherings, but I also began to feel something unpleasant…bitterness.
As soon as I identified the feeling, it felt all consuming. I grew tired of looking at messages where people praised me and thanked me for their girl gang. Where was mine? Why was I alone? I knew that I could no longer authentically run this community without doing some soul searching and reevaluating how I was running my life.
That’s when I decided to make my announcement. I knew that if I continued to press forward, you would start to feel the bitterness that was growing inside of me. And that’s not what this community is about. I realized that after nearly 3 years of running this community, I had put myself last and forgot to build my own circle.
Giving myself this space over the last 6 months has been such a gift. I needed to temporarily release In Her Circle so that I could just be me. Not the leader, the mentor, the guide. But just your friend, Jess. I read books that helped me identify certain triggers around relationships. I worked with mentors that helped reflect back the other side of the story - helped me see where I may have actually been repelling friendships (caused by my deeply rooted mother wound). I identified the friends who were actually there for me, even if I had been blind to it for a bit. And I intentionally started pursuing them, connecting with them, and putting into practice all of the friendship tips that I’ve taught to many of you.
And now I’m here, saying hello after quite some time. I appreciate the grace so many of you extended to me, and I hope that you continue to extend to me as I’m only human.
I am excited to bring back In Her Circle in the new year. It will be very different than it was before. I’m hoping it will be a better different? Fewer events and gatherings, but when we do, it will be magical, beautiful and soulful. Talk soon!